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Master Chef on Fox


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#1 weinoo

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 05:26 AM

Mater Chef, an exciting new TV show. As stated on its web site:

MASTERCHEF conducted a nationwide search for the best home cooks in America, and through a series of exciting elimination rounds, will turn one of them into a culinary master.



We were surfing the channels last night, and as soon as we saw Gordon Ramsey's mug, had to stop and watch this travesty of a show - only once, I promise, because it was pure torture.

The judges. Now, I can understand Ramsey doing this show because he must've sold his soul to the devil (aka Fox) a long time ago. Along with Ramsey, there's another chef, Graham Elliot Bowles, a Johnson & Wales graduate who has earned 4 stars at a restaurant or two and who has a lot of tattoos.

The third judge is Joe Bastianich, who I have great respect for as a restaurateur, and who I strangely thought would be too busy running all his restaurants to find time to do a TV show, but there's that devil again. Indeed, Joe seems willing to sneer and maybe even be as mean as Gordon; actually, I've had that experience from him in the past at a now shuttered restaurant.

Suffice to say, there's lots of hand wringing, lots of crying, lots of personal stories, and lots of commercials. Anyone else catch this tediousness?
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#2 roosterchef21

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 06:01 AM

Ramsay, Ramsay, Ramsay... The nail in the coffin for GR@RHR?

#3 MattyC

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 06:43 AM

I do feel a bit sick of Ramsey, but I have the greatest love of graham for a while, so was pretty pumped to see him with a show.

Sadly, the whole Ramsey and being on Fox thing just made this show a bit hard to sit through, I agree. I'll still give it a shot I suppose, only because I love graham, and tuesday is my night off - but aside from those, not sure how much I will want to keep watching.
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#4 Crouton

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 06:52 AM

Indeed, Joe seems willing to sneer and maybe even be as mean as Gordon; actually, I've had that experience from him in the past at a now shuttered restaurant.



I'd love to hear your (bad) experience with Joe Bastianich... he seems a bit dismissive in nature, on Lidia's PBS shows and from gathered readings.

#5 tino27

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 06:53 AM

I, too, caught this last night. Honestly, I spent as much time watching it with the "Mute" on as off as I found the tears and stories just plain stupid.

The one thing that struck me right off the bat was that it appeared that none of the contestants knew that the winner won $250k and their own cookbook published. I would think as a contestant, I'd want to know the possible reward for selling my soul to Fox (or any other reality show).

Finally, I seem to remember a series called MasterChef being aired on PBS. Actually, several seasons of it. And I remember it was WAY more about the cooking than the silly drama that I witnessed last night. It's like the different between Iron Chef USA (ack!) and Iron Chef America.
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#6 weinoo

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 07:01 AM


Indeed, Joe seems willing to sneer and maybe even be as mean as Gordon; actually, I've had that experience from him in the past at a now shuttered restaurant.

I'd love to hear your (bad) experience with Joe Bastianich... he seems a bit dismissive in nature, on Lidia's PBS shows and from gathered readings.


Dismissive will be a good foil for GR, who never dismisses as much as he disses.

As for one of my bad experiences, suffice to say that it was at the now closed John Dory, when he didn't see fit to vacate the table that he and another manager were using for a discussion while customers were left standing nearby. And here I thought it was the hospitality industry.
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#7 MattyC

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 07:14 AM

Finally, I seem to remember a series called MasterChef being aired on PBS. Actually, several seasons of it. And I remember it was WAY more about the cooking than the silly drama that I witnessed last night. It's like the different between Iron Chef USA (ack!) and Iron Chef America.


Yeah, there still is another Masterchef, a few if I remember right: A regular masterchef, a celeb version, maybe one other one.... actually someone who posts here every so often just made an appearance on the celeb masterchef a week or two ago. The Iron chef america vs the original one is a good way to look at it - Masterchef US seems to be pretty bad compared to the others, or so I hear, I haven't caught any of the others yet.
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#8 Lisa Shock

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 07:51 AM

I have seen the UK show on BBC America, it's much better.

#9 rickster

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 07:56 AM


Finally, I seem to remember a series called MasterChef being aired on PBS. Actually, several seasons of it. And I remember it was WAY more about the cooking than the silly drama that I witnessed last night. It's like the different between Iron Chef USA (ack!) and Iron Chef America.


Yeah, there still is another Masterchef, a few if I remember right: A regular masterchef, a celeb version, maybe one other one.... actually someone who posts here every so often just made an appearance on the celeb masterchef a week or two ago. The Iron chef america vs the original one is a good way to look at it - Masterchef US seems to be pretty bad compared to the others, or so I hear, I haven't caught any of the others yet.


The Masterchef that was on PBS years ago was a US competition. I remember it pretty well, although I don't remember that it ran a couple of seasons. I think the others that may be around currently are all overseas versions - UK, Australia, etc.

#10 percyn

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 07:59 AM

Agree with Lisa - the original UK show is much more educational and enjoyable vs the unnecessary drama and shouting on the US knock-offs.

#11 ElsieD

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 08:12 AM

We watched it as well. Pretty boring, actually. Too much in the way of histronics for us, so I doubt we will be watching any more of it.

#12 nextguy

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 09:43 AM

I started watching with very low expectations. I mean very very low expectations. I have to say it was better than I thought. I get the feeling it won't be as blatantly contrived as Hells Kitchen.

Too bad Ramsay's US shows aren't as good as his UK shows. I really do like Kitchen Nightmares and F Word on BBC.

#13 JudyB

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 09:44 AM


Finally, I seem to remember a series called MasterChef being aired on PBS. Actually, several seasons of it. And I remember it was WAY more about the cooking than the silly drama that I witnessed last night. It's like the different between Iron Chef USA (ack!) and Iron Chef America.


Yeah, there still is another Masterchef, a few if I remember right: A regular masterchef, a celeb version, maybe one other one.... actually someone who posts here every so often just made an appearance on the celeb masterchef a week or two ago. The Iron chef america vs the original one is a good way to look at it - Masterchef US seems to be pretty bad compared to the others, or so I hear, I haven't caught any of the others yet.


I don't know which versions have been shown in the US, but the UK Masterchef has had two main versions:
  • The original Masterchef was largely home cooks preparing what might be described here as "dinner party" food and was presented originally by Loyd Grossman then Gary Rhodes until it was axed.
  • A revived Masterchef (initially called "Masterchef goes Large") presented by John Torrode and Greg Wallace
I think there was one series of a children's version for the original series. With the recent series there have also been Celebrity versions as well as two(?) series of "Masterchef Professional" - which is far better than the amateur versions. If you have a chance to see the Professional version I would definitely recommend it.

#14 xxchef

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 10:39 AM

I wouldn't watch Ramsey if you paid me - a LOT. But what's with all the "sell your soul to the devil = Fox TV" references. I don't get it. Is it a $$$ thing?
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#15 weinoo

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 11:11 AM

I wouldn't watch Ramsey if you paid me - a LOT. But what's with all the "sell your soul to the devil = Fox TV" references. I don't get it. Is it a $$$ thing?

I guess you can interpret it anyway you'd like.
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#16 Holly Moore

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 03:53 PM

Master Chef = (Kitchen Nightmares + Sucks)2
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#17 Holly Moore

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 07:06 PM

Errr. Too late to edit, but the formula should have read Hell's Kitchen and not Kitchen Nightmares.

Edited by Holly Moore, 28 July 2010 - 07:34 PM.

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#18 IndyRob

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 09:13 PM

I watched it on Hulu.com after reading this topic so my expectations were very low. But I didn't find it so bad and I think it may show some promise after it gets out of the initial stage. Blissfully absent (or at least held firmly on a leash) was the overly dramatic Fox narration found on Fox's Kitchen Nightmares or Hell's Kitchen. I'm not a big fan of the head-fakes in the evaluations (c'mon, do I really think you're going to eviscerate a potential master chef in front of his wife and small child?).

I think there's potential here. I hope that as the herd gets thinned, the general tone will become a little more sober and honest. A little more like Top Chef.

Edited by IndyRob, 28 July 2010 - 09:17 PM.


#19 Snadra

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 09:23 PM

I, too, caught this last night. Honestly, I spent as much time watching it with the "Mute" on as off as I found the tears and stories just plain stupid.

The one thing that struck me right off the bat was that it appeared that none of the contestants knew that the winner won $250k and their own cookbook published. I would think as a contestant, I'd want to know the possible reward for selling my soul to Fox (or any other reality show).

Finally, I seem to remember a series called MasterChef being aired on PBS. Actually, several seasons of it. And I remember it was WAY more about the cooking than the silly drama that I witnessed last night. It's like the different between Iron Chef USA (ack!) and Iron Chef America.



Australia just finished its second season of MasterChef Australia, and it sounds like the US version has taken on some of the Australian changes that were made to the original UK format. The tears, the stories, the "I'm doing it for my Gran/Mum/Dad/Dead Relative"s, the continuous return to the contestant talking later about exactly what was going through his/her mind. It rated HUGELY here, higher this year than last, and it was on 6 nights a week.

I personally didn't like it because it skewed more game show than cooking show. Instead of seeing people come up with amazing dishes (although they often did) you see people rushing about madly trying to finish a complicated dish in a ridiculously short period of time, or rush around the MC Pantry in their alloted 2 minutes to collect all their ingredients. You rarely got to see what they were doing, and instead listened to them describe how they were worried they were running out of time to finish all their 'processes'. I have no doubt they are excellent cooks - it would be niced to see more cooking and less drama.

And frankly, if I hear the word 'beautiful' (usually pronounced 'beyoudifool') to describe a dish, any dish one more time, I will do something outlandishly ridiculous and out of all proportion.

#20 Shalmanese

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 11:30 PM

It's interesting, having seen the original Australian show, how similar many of the tactics were on this one (series of crap dishes followed by the judge going back and shouting at the participants, one participant being sent home to cook a different dish in their home kitchen).Someone should make a youtube clip that shows those scenes side by side.
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#21 Peter the eater

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 06:45 PM

US MasterChef just finished on Canadian primetime TV last night -- hooray for the cute Southern girl!

Anyone else catch this tediousness?

I watched 4 or 5 episodes over the last two months. This show is Top Chef Lite. It's overloaded with forced reality TV drama, and Gordon Ramsay is a shitty actor. Look out:

On September 7, 2010, MasterChef was renewed for a second season.


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#22 MattyC

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 06:59 PM

I actually watched the whole season - and you know what, it wasn't all that bad, especially when compared to Top Chef this season and the gripes I had with that.

Now, yes, it is a Ramsey show, so it's chock full of overplayed drama, bad acting, and Ramsey still trying to act like the cock on the wall. But you know what, I actually liked a good amount of the contestants, and thought the person that won, was actually someone who should have. I was rooting for her the whole time (how could you not?), and was happy to see the outcome.

Not the best show in the world, but in a cute way, I was entertained. And congrats to the cute southern girl, I agree.
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#23 baroness

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 07:26 PM

Yes, the show was over-dramatic.

It was fun to see Joe Bastianich be the 'bad cop' / hard-to-please cast member, rather than Gordon.

#24 Peter the eater

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 11:16 AM

It was fun to see Joe Bastianich be the 'bad cop' / hard-to-please cast member, rather than Gordon.

I like him -- not a very smiley guy. I thought he might stab a contestant.
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#25 Werdna

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 09:23 AM

While the contestents seemed to me to be picked completly based on drama-potential (see the 3-fingered man cook! Do they cry when they break an egg?) the cooking just kept getting better throughout the show.

"Angelo, you will not be... not cooking... tonight, because you did not... fail to please us... because it was... spectacular! how disgusted... I was... not to have more of this to eat!!" (insert commercial breakes for ...)

Very silly, but I liked it much more than anything but top chef. Near the end I felt like doing double-takes, 'specially at the deserts the winner was doing, dang.

I almost gave up on it during the first couple casting episodes, but I'll watch it again if it gets another season.

#26 IndyRob

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 02:07 PM

I agree, the first two episodes were outliers. I think they tried to fit too much in. But it got better as it went along. You just have to a develop a mental filter for Fox's penchant for the over dramatic. Having watched Kitchen Nightmares on Fox, I had a head start.

Perhaps the three chefs should explain the concept of 'less is more' to the Fox producers.

#27 Werdna

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 12:04 PM

Anyone watching the new season of this?

I am, so far the food looks much better than the first season. Still campy/looking for 'characters' to be on the show, but the cooking looks solid.

#28 Werdna

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 10:16 AM

As a follow up, I'm now 6 episodes in and this show has morphed into one of the more food-centered food-reality tv shows. The challenges are specific themes, and the cooking conditions and ingredients so far have not been messed with. I recomend giving it another chance.

#29 dcarch

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 12:25 PM

I am impressed with the contestants' plating skills.

I can't believe they are all just home-cooks.

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#30 Lisa Shock

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 10:13 AM

I actually caught up with this on 'On Demand' and was surprised that it is pretty solid. Yes, the first three episodes have a lot of melodrama with contestant backstories, but, once you get to competition episodes, it's a decent show. (see, I don't rag on everything on tv!) I really like the elimination challenges because they have focused on real basic skills, not some made-up silliness, and are not showcases for a sponsor's product.